VIP Lounge: Karel Appel

This programme is part of the series VIP Lounge
Karel Appel’s “Encounter of the Worlds”, 1958 (©Flickr/ Dmitry Sakharov)

VIP Lounge was a series of portraits produced in the late 1980’s of well-known Dutch people who gained international fame for their professional achievements. In this programme our guest was Karel Appel (1921-2006), one of the best-known Dutch artists of the second half of the 20th century. He was one of the earliest members of COBRA, a loose association of artists from COpenhagen, BRussels, and Amsterdam who worked mostly in primary colours and embraced the spontaneity and playful energy of finger-painting and children’s art. Appel began going to New York in the 1950’s, and his painting is no doubt closely connected to American abstract expressionism. He provoked the public with statements about his exuberant, almost violent way of throwing paint around: “I just mess about some” (“Ik rotzooi maar wat aan“), seeing himself as “a barbarian painting in a barbaric age” who wanted to “make chaos positive”.

Producer: Marijke van der Meer

Broadcast 5 October, 1987

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